Tolstoy Marathon # 1 : The Emperor’s Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy : A Book Review

emperor's questionsAfter reading Anna Karenina ( 5 /5 stars )  a few years ago , the time when I was still looking for a job; plus  this recent  A Confession ( 4 /5 stars ), and  being  borne upon the fact that Leo Tolstoy is  considered by prominent literary lovers from different aspects of society as  the  unparalleled best novelist in  the world  , I promised myself that I would read all his books at my disposal , more even so that  we  can have now an access to any classics  in the internet.  Since I cannot  splurge on his other books yet , that I want to collect in my  own library someday, I would begin with his short stories as one of my friends on Goodreads put it and thus I would call this  mission from now on :  “ Tolstoy Marathon”.

Tolstoy Marathon #  1 The Emperor’s Three Questions or simply  known as The Three Questions 

An emperor   philosophically existentialistic would give a great reward to whoever could   best answer his three a la riddle  questions :

 First: What is the best time to  do each thing?

Second: What is the most important people to work with?

Third: What is the most important to do at all time?

 Unsatisfied with the answers of the persons who had at once made way to the palace , the emperor turned to a hermit  living in a far forest. As the emperor only saw the  small forest of the forest, he ended up realizing the answers based on his experience with the said hermit and a persecutor.

 The emperor learned  that :It is important to live at the present time, with whom the people you are , and how to make them happy.


Somehow enlightened, the Emperor promised  that he would apply the insight by heart. As he wanted  to have a second opinion, it occurred  to him that there was one person known throughout his kingdom he had not turned to yet: the bookworm , living in a house  filled with  books to the rafter somewhere in Timbuktu.

 Reaching the book lover’s dwelling place, the emperor found him sitting on a sofa, burying himself in a voluminous book   and around him was  the  musty stacks of books he had to keep up with.

 “ It must be  a novel by James Joyce  “, thought the emperor.

 When the bookworm saw the emperor, he nodded his head in greeting and continued to immerse himself in the book.

 The emperor approached him and said, “ I have come here to ask your second opinion with three questions:

 When is the best time to do each thing?

Who are the most important people to work with?

What is the most important thing to do at all times?”

 Hearing these, the bookworm  put down the book; his eyes  popped out, sparkled with interest in the questions. He looked as though he had not gone  to bed yet, for he had been reading the whole night.

 “ Your Majesty, just read and read and read.”

 Blushed by the answer, “ How about the most important people to work with? “

 “ Your Majesty, make friends with the other bookworms and be part of their book clubs.”

 Noticing the bookworm unmoved from his crossed- sitting position ,and  his eyes backed  to the book, for he was used to being paid homage.

 ” Seriously, what is the most important thing to do at all times?”

 “Share your ideas you have learned from the books with the people .”

 Weird he looked for the Emperor and stifled   an air of  disappointment,  off he went leaving the  bookworm with his business.

 Rating: 4/5 stars






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